Activision takes a stab at developing the first Nascar game for the Wii console, and the result is a fairly subpar release that is marred by underutilized options. The game features the Nascar brand and some of the more familiar drivers that fans of the sport may enjoy, but, while fun for a while, the overall design leaves us wanting more. especially when compared to other good Wii racing games.
Nascar 2011: The Game appeals to racing fans by featuring some of the world’s most well known tracks – from Daytona International Speedway to Watkins-Glen International – and a roster of Nascar drivers that the gamers can play as. The tracks and drivers are rendered pretty accurately, and this is one of the game’s strong points. The career mode allows for a full 36 races, so players can buckle in for a long and lengthy campaign.
The cars enjoy a decent physics engine. Players can also perform competitive drafting or slipstreaming, clearly one of the most exciting features in Nascar 2011: The Game. The feel of racing on the track is made as realistic as possible, and the Wii remote senses the motions solidly.
The Wii Nascar 2011: The Game also offers other modes such as invitational events. They serve as a welcome respite when the main storyline no longer provides any challenge.
If the good points of the Nascar 2011 Wii game are somewhat minimal, that’s because it’s severely lacking in content. The Wii version does not have the same customization options available in its Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 counterparts; default cars cannot be altered and modified, making it an extremely major setback for Wii players. Furthermore, the graphics are significantly toned down, giving the game an empty feel. With the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, players can expect lush visual graphics. Sadly, the Wii release doesn’t achieve the same standard.
A major drawback is the difficulty level. Unless cranked up to maximum, players can easily pass cars and leave the competition in the dust. Even on the hardest setting, the AI only offers minimal resistance. When you can suffer multiple crashes and still end up in first place, the spirit of competitiveness in this racing simulation is sucked right out. To make matters worse, the celebration cutscenes showing the player’s character standing above the crowd spraying Champaign when he wins first place is recycled over and over again, making each race a tired exercise.
One of the most anticipated scenes in a racing game is the crash pileup. Nascar 2011: The Game offers some car crash sequences, but it doesn’t really feel realistic; the cars look like odd shapes bumping against each other. Crashing into other cars does leave visible damage and pileups do occur, but the recovery time is surprisingly fast, leaving players unsatisfied.
The Nascar 2011 game allows two-player split screen action. However, online play is not available.
Nascar 2011: The Game is a stripped down, skeletal racing simulator. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 releases are better equipped, but the Wii version is simply lackluster and is so bare that even Old Mother Hubbard would hang her head in shame. With all the advanced racing simulators out there that offer a whole slew of features, there is little reason to pick up Nascar 2011: The Game, even if you are a Nascar fan.